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The poll also found that there was widespread misunderstanding of the areas of health and social care services that are independently regulated or monitored, with 83 per cent of people mistakenly believing private hospitals are independently regulated or monitored and 76 per cent of people believing that homecare services are independently regulated or monitored.
The poll was carried out on HIQA’s 10th anniversary to help inform its future work.
Key poll findings:
• There is strong support for respecting the rights of vulnerable people and for accountability and independent oversight of health and social care services. Some 96 per cent agreed that it was important that the rights of vulnerable people in long-term residential settings are respected, 95 per cent agreed that there ought to be clear accountability when provision of health and social care services falls below set standards, and 93% per cent agreed that having independent oversight of health and social care services is important to ensure that they are safe and effective.
• Poor provision of public services was witnessed across a range of health and social care services in the last five years. It was found that 47% of people witnessed poor provision in public hospitals, 21 per cent witnessed poor provision in homecare services and 21% witnessed poor provision in nursing homes. Of those who witnessed poor provision in nursing homes, 36 per cent witnessed physical or emotional abuse. While for those who witnessed poor provision in homecare services, 24 per cent witnessed physical or emotional abuse.
• There is widespread misunderstanding of which services are currently independently regulated or monitored. For example, when asked whether services were independently regulated or monitored, 83 per cent believed that private hospitals were, 80% believed that primary care centres were, and 76 per cent believed homecare services were. However, none of these services are currently independently regulated or monitored.
• The aspects of service that the poll found were most important to ensuring good health and social care provision were that you and your family are treated with dignity at all times when accessing health and social services (88 per cent), that your privacy is respected and maintained (85 per cent) and that there are clear standards and guidance in place to help staff to provide safe and effective care (84 per cent).
• There is strong support for the independent regulation of a range of services. The highest levels of support were for homecare services (90 per cent), public hospitals (90 per cent), and community-based services for people with disabilities (88 per cent).
• Of those polled, 63 per cent were aware of HIQA. However, there was much stronger awareness of HIQA among over 65s (93 per cent) than among 18-24 year olds (36 per cent). The aspect of HIQA’s work for which there was the strongest level of awareness was its regulatory role, with 57 per cent of the population aware of this function.
HIQA’s Chief Executive Mr Phelim Quinn commented: “As HIQA marks its 10th year, it is timely to look at the public’s attitudes towards health and social care in order to inform our future work driving better, safer care.
“Unfortunately, it is still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services. Many of the areas where poor provision is witnessed are currently not independently regulated. The poll shows that regulating these services enjoys broad public support. Only through the extension of regulation will we get the safe and effective services that the public desires and deserves.
“The poll also shows that there is widespread misunderstanding of which areas of health and social care are currently independently regulated and monitored. Given the results, there may be some surprise among the public to discover that there is currently no independent regulation of private hospitals or homecare services. Indeed, the poll shows that when informed that these services are not independently regulated, there is widespread support for it to be introduced.
“Furthermore, the results of the poll show strong recognition of HIQA; however, it is primarily our role in regulation that is known. It is clear that we need to work harder to ensure that the public is aware of our work in evaluating the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of health technologies and in ensuring the effective use of health information. We also need to do more to ensure that younger people are aware of our work.
“There is broad support for the type of health and social care that HIQA has long supported, where the rights of vulnerable people are central to the provision of services and where there is clear accountability when something goes wrong. For example, we believe that now is the time to introduce safeguarding legislation to protect at-risk adults from abuse and neglect.”
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